The Grapevine

Watchdog: Facebook Is Getting Information On Your Sex Life

Following news about secretly giving some companies access to personal data of millions of users, Facebook may face another controversy. This time the social media giant reportedly is obtaining information on the sexual activities of users. 

Privacy International, a privacy watchdog in the United Kingdom, issued a report showing how Facebook receives data from menstruation-tracking apps Maya and MIA Fem. The shared information include users' sexual health, when they last had sex, whether they were ovulating and the contraception they used, the Washington Post reported Monday.

Privacy International said other companies potentially are getting the same information from the two apps. The watchdog raised concerns that companies, insurers, advertisers and even employers may use any of the data to discriminate or target certain people.

Facebook collects data from Maya and MIA Fem using its Facebook Software Development Kit. The tool allows developers to build new apps designed for specific operating systems, use Facebook ads to monetize their apps and to track analytics.

Privacy International said Maya and MIA Fem share information with the social media company right after a user installs the app and launches it. The watchdog noted the information sharing occurs even before women sign or agree with the privacy policy.

Maya, MIA and other period- and pregnancy-tracking apps promise to help women manage their fertility and pregnancy. The mobile tools can also be used to track sexual health, moods and other intimate data of users. 

However, experts warned that giving employers and insurance companies access to personal information of the apps’ users could affect how companies treat women, including promotion and services. 

Following Privacy International’s report, Facebook spokesman Joe Osborne said the company is not providing advertisers with sensitive information from the apps.  Maya app developer Plackal Tech recently announced it plans to remove the Facebook Software Development Kit from the next version of its service. Mobapp Development, which built MIA, did not release any comment on the privacy issue. 

Meanwhile, Facebook launched a new dating tool, which would require more personal information from users. Facebook Dating is a matchmaking service that checks users' social media activities, preferences and interests to find potential love interests.

Facebook Logo This illustration picture shows the US social media Facebook logo displayed on a tablet in Paris on February 18, 2019. A new report highlights the workplace stress Facebook moderators are facing due to violent contents and ‘inhumane’ treatment at work. Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images

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